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CBS, Fox Rejoin NAB

NAB looks forward to ‘presenting a seamless display of broadcast unity’

CBS, including its 130 radio stations, and Fox Broadcasting both have rejoined the National Association of Broadcasters.

The announcement from the broadcasters includes the return of the CBS 29 television stations and the 27 owned-and-operated Fox television stations and the MyNetworkTV programming service.

CBS, Fox and ABC had left the association’s membership a number of years ago over disagreements concerning the national TV ownership cap, at a time when Eddie Fritts still headed the organization. Fox left in 1999; CBS left in 2001, according to NAB. We previously reported that ABC eventually returned to NAB membership, but CBS and Fox had not until this week.

The news means NAB represents the interests of thousands of over-the-air radio and television stations, and now the following television networks: ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, ION Media Networks, Telemundo and Univision.

At the recent show in Las Vegas, NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith had urged broadcasters to speak with one voice, citing the FCC’s broadband rollout plan and associated television spectrum auctions discussed by the commission, as well as the performance royalty issue for radio. After the announcement, he said CBS and Fox have “superb” lobbying arms in Washington, and NAB looks forward to “presenting a seamless display of broadcast unity inside the beltway.”

Jack Abernethy, chief executive officer of Fox Television Stations, stated: “The interests of our industry, our company and our viewers are best served by speaking with one voice on Capitol Hill, at the FCC and in the courts.”

Marty Franks, executive vice president for Planning, Policy and Government Affairs, CBS Corp., said in a statement that as the media landscape evolves, over-the-air broadcasting faces a number of clear opportunities and some significant challenges. “One of the very best ways to address these issues is through a resurgent NAB under Gordon Smith’s leadership. We look forward to adding the CBS voice to NAB’s efforts to preserve and enhance broadcasting.”

Franks and Abernethy will serve as the CBS and Fox members of the NAB board.